Overcoming a Near-Death Experience to Competing for His Best Life with Matt Long

Something that many athletes and top performers have in common is a story of overcoming adversity. For former New York City firefighter and elite athlete Matt Long, personal challenges have shaped the course of his life. In 2005, Long was hit by a bus. He spent weeks in a coma and months in the hospital, where he endured several surgeries. When he got out of the hospital, he found the mental part of recovery was just as challenging.

Long had to find a way to accept the ways in which his life had changed. Prior to the accident, he had been an avid runner. After the accident, his gait was off and his body had changed, so he turned to indoor rowing and other strength exercises. He found a new avenue to elite athleticism through tenacity, perseverance, and mental fortitude. He also had to learn not to let pride get in the way. He asked for help when he needed it, which gave him the support and tools that helped him blaze a new path forward. This week, he shares tips on overcoming challenges and learning from them to be better prepared for tomorrow.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Practice tenacity
  • Learn from past disappointments
  • Persistence leads to outcomes
  • Let go of anger and self-pity
  • Don’t let pride get in the way


“(After my accident) the one thing that kept me alive was the condition I was in. So, when I go around to talk about my journey, I talk about a slogan we have at the fire academy up on the wall in the gym that says ‘Train For Life.’” -Matt Long

“If you’re (95 percent) mentally focused and zoned in and you have 5 percent talent, I’ll take you any day on my team. If you’ve got 95 percent talent and 5 percent mentally and you’re checked out, I don’t want you.” -Matt Long

“Right now, with what’s happening, I think the biggest thing for people to have is hope. If you take hope away from someone, then what else, really, do you have? Hope is a foundation.” -Matt Long

“For a lot of us, sometimes, we let our pride, we let our ego, we let what we used to do get in the way of asking others for help. When in reality, if we truly cared about getting better, if we were committed to ourselves, we would ask for help because we care about where we’re trying to go, what we’re trying to do more than looking like we can’t do it all right here in the moment.” -Jake Thompson

“It’s not about looking perfect or being popular, it’s about how you can make that impact.” -Jake Thompson


You can follow Matt Long on Twitter @43Long_Matt. You can also find out more on his website, http://mattlongspeaker.com/. Be sure to check out his book, The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete.

Mentioned This Week:

Matthew Del Negro’s “10,000 Nos” podcast: https://www.10000nos.com/

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Episode 205